Apple is the brand of choice for Amazon US shoppers looking for a new computer.

If nothing else, this clear endorsement of Apple products by US consumers shows how much the company has returned to grab its slice of PC industry "lebensraum".

Apple computers in every stripe account for 12 of the online giant's top 20 computer sales this morning. (Amazon UK doesn't carry computers).

iBook leads the pack

The iBook is the number one biggest computer-seller at Amazon as the back-to-school season begins in earnest, closely-pursued by the new 20-inch iMac. The 12.1-inch SuperDrive PowerBook is in third place.

Remaining list leaders, in order of preference are: fourth, the 14.1-inch iBook; fifth, 17-inch PowerBook; sixth, SuperDrive-equipped Mac mini; and seventh the Old-style 20-inch iMac.

Sony and Toshiba finally show up in eighth and ninth place, with a CD-RW/DVD Mac mini seizing tenth place.

Apple's heavy presence on the giant Amazon site reflects the new impact the company has on personal computing, thanks to the iPod, which keeps the brand in the public eye.

Apple to hit five per cent US share in 2006?

The news suggests Apple may see even more market growth in its current quarter, as its computers cease to be the oddballs of the home PC set. This should cast Microsoft protagonists into the same role that Apple defended during Cupertino's lean years.

Last week analysts at IDC and Gartner revealed that Apple had finally become one of the top five US PC makers in the third calendar quarter of 2005. Apple's growth absolutely outperfomed the industry average, with US PC shipments climbing 11 per cent to 17 million.

IDC claimed Apple to be the fifth place PC maker in the US, with 737,000 units shipped. Its market share climbed from 3.3 per cent to 4.3 per cent for an astonishing 44.6 per cent year-on-year growth.

Gartner declared Apple to be the fourth place PC maker with 744,000 units shipped for 4.2 per cent of the market.

Wearing shades in Cupertino

In tandem with the iPod, Apple's market momentum helped drive the company to deliver a new corporate record in its fourth quarter 2005, reporting the highest revenue and earnings in its history. Revenue hit $3.68 billion for a net profit of $430 million.

With recent new Mac announcements and the migration to Intel processors promising further speed and power enhancements, analysts remain optimistic for the company's future growth.

Apple senior executives must remain steady and avoid being blinded by the sweet sunlight of success.

The company will report its first quarter 2006 results on January 18.